Ivanhoe & Heyfield 2016
On Sunday 28th August, 2016, the Durban Art Deco Society conducted visits to two old homes in the Style Moderne. These were on the outskirts of the city, not coincidentally situated close to the original railway line and main road connecting Durban to the hinterland. Old aerial photographs showed that these homesteads were developed on large properties and in a fairly open landscape at the time, adding to the intrigue of this progressive choice of architecture in a countrified setting.
Ivanhoe was commissioned by Mr Ivan Phillips of Escombe Wholesalers Ltd clothing manufacturers in the Escombe/Malvern area. The architect was Clement Raymond Fridjhon and construction appears to have been around 1944, but some work was possibly done as late as 1950. The house was noted for light, ventilation and labour-saving, and was considered an ideal modern home, built for comfort. The ground floor had a lounge, dining room, gym, bar, billiard room and fully-fitted kitchen. Above the elegant curved staircase in the entrance hall hangs a crystal chandelier which was imported from Czechoslovakia. The second floor had five bedrooms and bathrooms, and the third floor had an entertainment area. A large attic opened onto a roof garden.
Ivanhoe was sold in the early 1970’s, following the owner’s death. It then became an Italian-run nightclub, which only lasted 4 years, owing to complaints from neighbours. After passing through a number of hands the house and the 2573 square metre site around it has been developed as a retirement village.
Heyfield, further inland in Kloof, was commissioned by a ship master, Captain Andrew David Drummond Hey. The land was transferred from Thomas Samuel Poer Field to Captain Hey in 1935. The architect was Geoffrey Le Sueur, a prolific architect in the Durban area, including such buildings as Athlone Mansions (1930), Royal Durban Golf Club (1935), Customs House, Eagle Buildings, Oswald Pirow Building, and Yarningdale flats on the Marine Parade.
This residence is one of the best preserved Art Deco Style residences in Durban, and has been a point of interest with locals up in Kloof ever since it was constructed. It is one of the earliest Art Deco Style Buildings in Durban and Country, and may well have been a catalyst in the subsequent proliferation of Art Deco Style Buildings in Natal. The double storey was a useful vehicle to emulate a ship’s bridge and prow, and other than the Fields hotel, must have been the only other double storey building around the ‘top of Fields Hill and beyond some. The portholes and Hand Rail up front punctuate the Maritime theme, and corners are rounded, reflecting the period when speed was king, whether a plane, train, automobile or ocean liner travelling across the Atlantic Ocean. Two fireplaces, constructed in an art deco style reflecting the civilisation of the Inca in South America, follow on the discovery of the mountain fortress of Machu Picchu in the Andes of South America in 1911.
Ivanhoe south side showing porthole windows, bay windows and a cantilevered corner. The teak entrance door is surmounted by a "P" emblem for "Phillips".
Front view of Ivanhoe showing double-volume entrance hall with 8m windows in the centre.
Elegant curved staircase and Czechoslovakian cut glass chandelier in the Ivanhoe entrance hall.
Staircase and parquet flooring in the entrance hall.
Ivanhoe entrance hall with focused mirror panels at the rear.
Entrance to Ivanhoe.
Porthole window at the Ivanhoe entrance.
Heyfield showing ship's prow/bridge on the left and curved section over the entrance.
Heyfield front area showing added canopy and an extension to the kitchen on the left.
Heyfield entrance hall.
One of two back-to-back fireplaces in Heyfield. Note the arrangement of bricks in an Inca pattern.